15 New Random German Words

Time for a blog post not just listing what I’ve been up to.

At work, I learn a lot of German words, which was kind of expected, but there are some words I never thought I’d end up learning. At least not in a publishing house.

You see, one of my tasks (which I haven’t done much of in the past few weeks due to other demands) is to tag pictures on the database we have. It is just as dull as it sounds, but it has its advantages – the amount of vocabulary needed to tag pictures. These pictures come in all shapes and sizes, from a picture of a briefcase (Aktentasche!) to a huge picture of a farm which a variety of things going on it, from all the animals and buildings (Scheune!), to the scenery and the people.

So, being the good little language geek I am, I keep track of the words I learnt. Here are 15 of the most varied words I’ve learnt working at publishing house in Germany. Hopefully you German lovers out there will benefit from this little blog post!

1. das Band: not to be confused with die Band (a musical Band) and there’s also a der Band I think (why German, why?), das Band can mean a few things, but the definition I learnt was the ribbon you wrap around on a wrapped present to make it look pretty. D’awwh.

2. Gleitzeit: a beautiful word that rings through the ears of those who have it, or enrages those who don’t. Gleitzeit is “flexitime”, or however we call it, meaning you can come and go to work whenever you want (or, in my case, be there between 10-3 and just make sure I make enough hours up either side). One literal translation would be “slide time”. Could be the new hammer time?

3. der Pickel: this does not, in fact, mean “the pickle”. It means a pimple/spot on your face. Just imagine someone covered in pickles – boom, you’ve learnt the word Pickel forever.

4. schwindelig: this means dizzy. Very random, but could possibly come in handy at some point.

5. die Zöpfe: I learnt this to be “pigtails” but apparently they use this word for bunches, braids and other things, too. Der Zopf is the singular form.

6. die Tretmühle: you can probably guess what this is: a treadmill. Will probably never come in handy for me. Me? In a gym? Haaa.

7. die Schubkarre: this is a random little word which I was surprised I didn’t know when it came up. It means wheelbarrow. Literally a “push barrow”.

8. die Knospe: this means the bud of a flower. How pretty! Probably will never need to use it, but at least it’s up there in my head in case anybody ever starts a conversation about buds with me. Who knows?

9. der Stammbaum: following the plant route – this means family tree. Interesting they say “stem tree” though, not mentioning family.

10. das Wimmelbild: this is an interesting one. It doesn’t appear when I search it on the online dictionary I use, but it means a picture where you have to find things, like Where’s Wally?. I’m not sure if it’s an actual word used by all – my colleagues use other words which don’t actually “exist” but everybody in the office knows what it means. Another such a word is “verkringeln” (or something similar) which basically means “to change a compulsory exercise in a book to an optional one”, which is used a lot when we’re discussing exercises in the textbook we’re working on.

11. die Spitzhacke: a pick-axe. Don’t think there’s much more I can say to that!

12. röntgen: this mean to x-ray something. It surprised me a little because I assumed such a word would have just been stolen from English, but nope – the Germans actually have their own word which they use this time!

13. die Muschel: this means a shell. Again, it’s another simple word I was surprised I didn’t know, but it could come in handy one day!

14. das Siegertreppchen: this is the equivalent to our winner’s podium, but I believe it’s slightly more colloquial (das Siegerpodium is the proper word, I think). But it’s quite a cute word with the diminutive form – “little winner step”. N’awwh!

15. der Volltreffer: literally “full meeter”, Volltreffer means “bullseye”/”direct hit”. Could, again, be another useful one!


I hope you enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it. I do love German…

Euch einen schönen Abend!



4 thoughts on “15 New Random German Words

    1. You answered that one yourself via Whatsapp! 🙂
      “Der dritte Band von der Harry Potter Reihe war echt gut – also das dritte Buch”.
      Your language can be tricky sometimes 😉

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